. ,not only in an aorist tense (completed action) but also in a passive voice. Simply put, it means that thesubjects of this sentence (us) are being acted upon (by an outside agent. i.e, God) rather than doing theaction for ourselves.2.
Predestination always precedes any spiritual blessing.
This is simply a fact that is throughout allScripture. Why was God favorable towards Abraham? Because He chose him (Gen 18:18). Abrahamcertainly did not ask to be sought after. He continued in everyday life worshiping false gods until Yawehcalled him to leave Ur. And why did the Lord bless the stubborn, wicked, rebellious Israelites and givethem the Promised Land? Because He loved them and chose them as His own people (Deut 7:7-10). Inthe same manner, God has chosen us as His special people; a people to be holy and blameless beforeHim (v.4). And I can certainly assure you that there was nothing in us that would cause Him to choose usexcept for pure, unhindered love and mercy (1Pe 2:4, 9; Mt 22:14; Ro 11:5, etc.).
B. According to His purpose
There are two phrases here in verse 11:
According to the purpose of Him
According to the counsel of His will.
The Greek words used are boule and thelema, respectively. Both can be interchangebly used inthe sense of 'will.' Often, thelema is used as something that has been determined or that which will comeabout (Thayers, G2307. See also,
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,
pp.73-136 for a detaileddiscussion of the Genetive case and its multi-faceted use;
the Genetive is used in the Greek constructionin the last clause of verse 11
).So, in Paul's mind the inheritance of the believer has already been obtained. Note that it is obtained
to the praise of His glory.
This inheritance is tied to the two phrases mentioned earlier:
(1). According to the purpose of Him
Everything God does is always to glorify His own Name and cause His people to praise Him. His glory isfirst and foremost while our salvation and sanctification is secondary. Let us never make the mistake ofreversing the two: God's glory is not dependent upon our salvation, but our salvation is dependent upon(and with great mercy and love) God's glory. Scripture testifies over and over again that God does thesethings in spite of us rather than on account of us (Isa 63:14; Ex 33:19; Isa 43:7; Ezek 20:14; 1Pe 1:20;1Joh 2:12).
(2). The counsel of His will
This phrase alone signifies a great deal. The nuances are plain and Paul makes use of them well here.There are two that can be discussed here.First, the counsel
belongs to God and God alone.
He has no need to consult another for He is thecreator of all things. He already possesses complete and perfect knowledge for He had already in mindwhat He was to do before He began the process of creation (Isa 46:10). Regarding our inheritence, Jesuswas the Lamb slain from the foudation of the world (1Pe 1:20; Re 13:8) and all counsel is within theTriune Godhead so that
we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.
Thebeauty of this is twofold: (1) We are the beneficiaries of God's counsel
having been predestined.
It issomething that causes us to break forth in praise which in turn causes God to be glorified. (2) God stillrecieves the glory from His own counsel regardless of what may come. If God damns every person toHell, He is still glorified. If He saves some and not all, He is still glorified. If every person were to willinglybow their knee to Christ, He is still glorified. No matter which way we turn the key God's glory is always atthe other end of the lock.The second aspect of God's counsel is this:
no one was there when He made these decisions.
Thisseems a bit trifling to point out but it is truth. God made, decreed, and acted upon His own counsel. Nooutside force was there to persuade or dissuade Him from any course of action; and when we comeacross the doctrine of predestination in the Bible we would do well to remember this. God is still in controlof every situation. Many are offended at the idea that God is the one who chooses the recepients of Hisgrace. Yet, the text is very clear in saying that the cause of our inheritance is the fact of our
having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
Can Paul be any clearer? God needs no defense for the actions He makes and we disservice God greatlywhen we insist that He work according to
sense of justice and fairness. When we begin to meddle inGod's counsel we may receive the same answer that a well-loved character of the Bible received:
Who is this that darkens counsel by wordswithout knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you,and you make it known to me (Job 38:1-3).